After preparing the second and third placegetters in the Canberra Guineas ace Sydney trainer Peter Snowden won the very next race on Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park card on Sunday with Epaulette taking out the Black Opal Stakes 2012, earning the two-year-old a possible start in the coveted 2012 Golden Slipper in Sydney.
Snowden’s Canberra Guineas favourite Detours went down three-quarters of a length to fellow Sydney raider, Anthony Cummings’ Australian Oaks-bound She Goes To Rio, however their stablemate Epaulette atoned in the next winning the $250,000 Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m).
Going out as the $3 favourite the classy Commands clot was racing for the first time since winning the Australian Turf Club Handicap at Rosehill on debut back on Boxing Day.
On Sunday Epaulette, a three-quarter-brother to Snowden’s triple Group 1 hero Helmet, maintained their unbeaten record as they held on to defeat the John O’Shea-trained Faustus ($6) by a long neck.
“It was good to see him do what he did,” Snowden said on Sunday.
“We probably rode him a bit upside down. It was important that he won today.
“He is a talented horse and ridden out of his comfort zone he was still able to win.
“It is a long way to go to get to Helmet’s standard but he has taken the first step today.”
In an all Sydney Black Opal Stakes trifecta, Gai Waterhouse’s promising Later Gator ($4.60) crossed a length off the winner in third.
In fact Sydney raiders filled the first six placings in the 2012 Black Opal Stakes result with the Gerald Ryan-trained Cavalry Rose (4th), Anthony Cummings’ Diamond Player (5th) and Ryan’s other runner My Shabella (6th).
The Black Opal victory could have earned Epaulette a shot at the world’s richest race for two-year-olds with the $3.5 million Group 1 AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 7 on the agenda.
“We got the money behind him now and I think he is a Slipper horse,” Snowden said.
“He is sharp enough, he has good gate speed.
“He relaxed pretty well and I know there is a lot more improvement left in the horse.
“He is definitely our best two-year-old going into it.”
While Snowden and jockey Kerrin McEvoy, aboard Epaulette for their Black Opal win, took out the Golden Slipper last year with champion colt Sepoy, history is against Epaulette doing the same for them this autumn.
Since the Black Opal Stakes was first run in 1973, the only horse to win it and then go on to salute in the coveted Golden Slipper was Catbird in 1999.
After their Sunday success Epaulette shot up the Golden Slipper 2012 odds at our preferred online bookie bookmaker.com.au.
They now pay $17, as does Black Opal runner-up Faustus, in the Golden Slipper betting markets that are led by Blue Diamond Stakes winner Samaready ($4.80 bookmaker.com.au) and Saturday’s VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes winner in Melbourne All Too Hard ($6.50 bookmaker.com.au).
Whether it is a Listed Canberra feature or a Group 1 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival clash, the bookie offering the best horse racing odds and paying out the biggest winnings is bookmaker.com.au.
2012 Black Opal Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Canberra Race 6 – 11/03/2012
|1||2||EPAULETTE||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||–||7||56kg||$3F|
|2||1||FAUSTUS||John O’Shea||Jim Cassidy||0.2L||3||56kg||$6|
|3||10||LATER GATOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||1L||2||54kg||$4.60|
|4||9||CAVALRY ROSE||Gerald Ryan||Corey Brown||1.6L||9||55.5kg||$3.80|
|5||11||DIAMOND PLAYER||Anthony Cummings||Blake Shinn||2L||14||54kg||$31|
|6||15||MY SHABELLA||Gerald Ryan||Josh Adams (a)||3.6L||12||54kg||$13|
|7||16||TROPHIES||John P Thompson||Brenton Avdulla||3.9L||10||56kg||$31|
|8||4||RED EXCITEMENT||Neville Layt||Kevin Sweeney||5L||8||56kg||$21|
|9||3||RISE TO THE TOP||Gary Portelli||Peter Robl||6.6L||5||56kg||$31|
|10||5||NO RISQUE||Barbara Joseph & Paul Jones||Jeff Penza||6.7L||6||56kg||$51|
|11||7||FLAMING STAR||Chicka Pearson||William Pearson||7.3L||1||56kg||$71|
|12||12||LURA||Tony Sergi||Michael Travers||8.4L||13||54kg||$81|
|13||8||TONY THE PONY||Neil Osborne||Mathew Cahill||8.5L||4||56kg||$101|
|14||14||DON’T CROSS MARY||Peter Wiggins||Jay Ford||12.7L||11||54kg||$41|
|–||19||LIGHTNING DREW||Tim Martin||Jay Ford||–||0||–||–|
|–||17||CROWN MOSS||Marc Conners||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||13||BEAUTIFUL DANI||Mick Miladinovic||Richard Bensley||–||0||–||–|